Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium

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Eise Eisingastraat 3, Franeker, Netherlands

Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium Franeker Reviews

maryanntravel maryannt…
49 reviews
Fascinating visit Jan 13, 2012
I visited the Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker in September of 2011. Eise Eisinga was a Dutch woolcomber and had astronomy as a hobby. He created and built a scale model of the solar system all by himself, which currently is the oldest still perfectly working planetarium in the world.

The planetarium is situated in the center of Franeker, in the house that Eisinga lived in. At the entrance admission tickets can be bought for only €4,50. The lady behind the counter told me that every hour there would be a demonstration of the planetarium, which is located in the dining room of the house. It was not time yet, so I first walked around the rest of the museum. Interesting information about Eisinga's life, his family, his friends and colleagues, telescopes, other astronomical instruments, etc. can be found in the museum, along with useful information cards, audio tapes and visuals.

On the second floor of the old part of the house, the mechanism of the self-built solar system can be seen. On the second floor of the new part there is an auditorium where a documentary of Eisinga's life is displayed, and furthermore there is an exhibition space, which in September contained bits, pieces, rocks and meteorites from space.

The presentation in the dining room, where the solar system built to scale is located, was very interesting, clearly and enthusiastically presented. Some history was told, along with the explanation of how the planetarium exactly works and she proved by explaining several ceiling parts about the position of the sun, moon and dates that the solar system is still accurately working.

I really liked my visit to this museum. The whole museum is informative, and relatively small, so you have all the time to take in all the information at your own pace. Moreover, the staff was very helpful and enthusiastic, so in all I definitely recommend making the trip to Friesland if you are interested in history and/or astronomy.
Eise Eisinga Planetarium
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londonstudent londonst…
31 reviews
Fascinating Excursion into Scientific History Aug 07, 2009
In 1774 a conjunction of the planets made the local population around Franeker fearful of the end of the world. To counter such fears Eise Eisinga, a self-taught woolcomber of Franker, designed and constructed in his dining-room a working model of the solar system. The then known planets were represented by orbs which are connected through the ceiling to a complex system of gears in the loft-space above the dining-room; the gears in turn are regulated and driven by a pendulum clock and nine weights. The gears themselves consist of large wooden discs into which are driven nails in a circular pattern; there are over 10,000 such nails. By offsetting the centres of the circles, Eisinga was able to vary the speed with which the orbs rotate around the central orb of the sun, and so mimic the elliptical orbits of the planets - a dodge known to the Ancient Greeks. The orbs therefore rotate around the orb of the sun at exactly the correct speeds, so that (for example) the orb for Saturn, at that time the outermost known planet, takes more than 29 years to complete one circuit of the dining-room. There are many subsidiary indicators and dials for other astronomical data. Remarkably, the whole planetarium is still in full working order.

Every visitor receives a personal explanation of the planetarium from the curator - this can be in Dutch, German or English. Although the dining-room/planetarium is the focal point of the house, there are many items of astronomical interest, such as telescopes and orreries, on display, and it is also possible to view the mechanism of gears above the dining-room that keeps the whole apparatus going. A small room is given over to an explanation of Eisinga's lifelong craft, that of woolcombing and dyeing.
The planetarium and adjoining cafe
Part of the gearing mechanism in t…
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ladyluck13and7 says:
Remarkably, the whole planetarium is still in full working order.


A small room is given over to an explanation of Eisinga's lifelong craft, that of woolcombing and dyeing.


I always fine some subtle humour in your reviews. Maybe Im just crazy
Posted on: Aug 03, 2010
londonstudent says:
Yes, an orb is just a little globe or sphere; it's rather a poetical word, but useful in a case like this. There was a major restoration in 1997, so it probably now looks more splendid than it did when you saw it! I was really astonished to find such a fascinating historical artefact in such an out-of-the-way place.
Posted on: Aug 26, 2009
ik-ben-10eke says:
I went here when I was about 13 years old, with my parents and sisters while we were camping near Franeker. Real interesting. I remember I liked the little globes (or is that called orbs?) at the ceiling, on their ever going orbits.
Posted on: Aug 26, 2009

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